The former Somerset West and Taunton Council produced an ambitious, up to date Draft Masterplan for the Firepool regeneration site in Taunton town centre. The Masterplan proposes an ambitious mixed-use scheme, comprising new homes and a leisure quarter organised around a high-quality public realm, designed to support revitalisation and regeneration of Taunton town centre.
The Masterplan was adopted by the former Somerset West and Taunton Council on 28 March 2023. The final version of the Masterplan can be viewed below, alongside supporting documents.
Strategic Environmental Assessment – Environmental Report
Strategic Environmental Assessment – Adoption Statement
Habitats Regulations Assessment – Appropriate Assessment
Nutrient Neutrality and Mitigation Strategy
Equalities Impact Assessment
Townscape and Visual Impact Assessment
Draft Transport Statement
Draft Framework Travel Plan
Office and Retail Market Update
Economic Impact Report
Flood Technical Note
Post-adoption, further work is expected in order to resolve a number of site-wide issues in further detail before planning applications for further individual parcels can be considered. This post-adoption work should cover the following points:
- Continued iteration of the site-wide transport statement and framework travel plan.
- Agreeing an approach for delivering Biodiversity Net Gain (BNG) across the site as a whole.
- Identification of building character areas and key groupings.
- Further clarification of how the proposed heat network might be delivered.
- Signing up to a Local Labour Agreement incorporating employment and skills plan.
More information can be found in the officer report recommending adoption, above.
The Local Planning Authority continues to work proactively with the developer team to resolve these site-wide issues and help move the site forward towards delivery.
Firepool is a major regeneration area within Taunton town centre, with aspirations for its development for many years. The adopted Taunton Town Centre Area Action Plan (2008) allocates the site for development. However, a number of circumstances have changed since then which mean it is appropriate to produce a new Masterplan to provide an up to date planning policy context.
The Firepool site is owned and is being developed by the former Somerset West and Taunton Council (now Somerset Council). The council are also the Local Planning Authority (LPA). The council therefore has two distinct and separate roles with regards to the site, as developer and as the LPA . The Council as developer has produced the Masterplan, and as Local Planning Authority has adopted the Masterplan as a material consideration in the preparation of pre-application advice, assessing planning applications and any other development management purposes.
The former Somerset West and Taunton Council determined that the Masterplan is required to be accompanied by both Strategic Environmental Assessment (SEA) and Habitat Regulations Assessment (HRA) in accordance with relevant Regulations. Further information on this determination and reasons for it can be read within the SEA/HRA Screening Report. A Draft SEA Environmental Report and Draft HRA Appropriate Assessment were consulted on alongside the Draft Masterplan.
Draft Firepool Masterplan
Public consultation on the Draft Masterplan took place between Monday 21 November 2022 and Monday 2 January 2023. Whilst consultation has now closed, you can still access the consultation draft, supporting material and background information at Draft Firepool Masterplan Consultation Hub. The Consultation Statement, linked above, details comments received and how they have been taken into account in production of the final Masterplan.